Hey, Explorers!

I apologize for the late updates!

We are back from Ambon and Banda Neira! There was a bit challenge during this trip because our flight from Ambon to Banda Neira got rescheduled to days later than our original date. Because of that, instead of spending time on an hour-long flight, we had to spend on a 16-hour-long ferry ride instead. The same happens to our journey back to Ambon from Banda. Despite all that, we were thankful that we didn’t miss much because of the changes.

While for the underwater world, it is insane! The fish is abundant. We were swimming among the fish almost on every dive. Meanwhile, I got updates from snorkelers saying that the sites were good, too!

I wish I could divide myself into two to check out the snorkelling and diving sites with my own eyes. So, seems like we will go back there again next year! :)

Tossa – the local type of transportation

The laid-back life in Banda Neira

Lava Flow – One of the dive site that was formed after the eruption of Mount Api in Banda about 30 years ago

The slope where the lava passed before now is full of these beautiful corals

10th Anniversary Indonesia Explorers

In October 2013, nine members of the Indonesia Explorers Meetup Group decided to climb Mount Agung in Bali. That was our first Indonesia Explorers trip with almost all newbie hikers – the story was funny how we all quite suffered after the hike but it was a good memory for all of us and a story that we could laugh for many years to come.

Were you a member of the Indonesia Explorer Meetup Group?

From one trip request to another, and another one, and another one.
And 10 years later, we are still here.Thanks for all your support all these times by joining the trips, giving encouragement, for the friendship, the fun and the laughter. Also to all of you who always read the newsletter, thank you.Feel free to enjoy the special discount given to all our Indonesia Explorers (Eazycation) members, Facebook Group members, and also to all our newsletter subscribers!

• 10% OFF for all group trips in 2024
• Max. discount at S$100 or IDR1.000.000,- per trip
• Limited to 2 trips per member
• Booking shall be made via eazycation.com
Stay tuned for our 2024 schedule!
• • •
Lastly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2024!

Since mid of last month, I have been implementing the [1 Traveler 1 Coral ] program in Eazycation. Meaning to say, each of your trip participation automatically counts toward planting one coral in Karimunjawa Islands.

No additional cost is added to participants but rather a portion of the profit goes to there.

Karimunjawa Islands is a group of islands situated some 90km northwest off the northern coast of Jepara Regency in Central Java Province. It is one of seven marine national parks in Indonesia.

Regardless of where we are living, we all know that about 25% of marine life is dependent on coral reefs at some point in their life cycle.

Simply put it this way: no reef, no fish, no life.

A photo of the baby corals with name tag and certificate will be sent via email to each donator as an acknowledgement.

 

I admitted that at some point in my life, I ruined the reefs, too. Especially, in the early days when I was new to water activity. Even if we think we never did any harm directly to the ocean, we can still partake in this program.

If you would like to find out more about how to adopt corals individually in Karimunjawa Islands, feel free to let me know. I would be more than happy to share more details with you! :)

Any thoughts?

Hey, Explorers!

Happy month of August!

This time, let me share about a destination our group has been before – many years back. So long that I couldn’t recall which year it was. Haha…

All these years, when we think of having a LOB leisure trip in Indonesia, the destination that always comes out first has always been Komodo Islands. Or to further east of Indonesia, it will be Raja Ampat Islands. Although both destinations are great, let me bring you to the other side of Indonesia. To the west, we go! To be exact, it is in Pahawang Islands.

At the south tip of Sumatra Island, with the nearest airport at Bandar Lampung. The port of Ketapang is the gate to the islands. Getting live-on-board (LOB) experience in Pahawang is less well-known than the other two destinations mentioned earlier.

When I was there two years ago, I had a chance to onboard the only phinisi ship in Pahawang for a day trip. The ship was born during the pandemic. The scenery differs from what we see in Komodo Islands or Raja Ampat. The topography is different; we can see Mount Krakatoa from a closer distance.

Relaxing, snorkeling, dolphin watching in the morning from the ship, having dinner at the beach with the most guaranteed taste meals prepared by an experienced chef; what else could we ask for more?

This year, I will organize one LOB trip to Pahawang. It will be a relaxing four days and three nights trip – with one night in Jakarta and two nights on the phinisi ship in early October. Limited to 10 pax only!

Besides that, our 8D7N Ambon and Banda Islands trip is already confirmed and is closing soon by this month, if not earlier. Limited transportation is available between Ambon and Banda Islands; hence, we must make arrangements asap. If you are keen, please sign up as soon as possible. We are a group of 5 as of now – snorkelers and divers.

Unless I stated otherwise, I keep the group small to no more than 12 pax. If you have any questions, please reply to this email or reach me on Whatsapp!

That’s all for now. I hope to see you guys soon! In the meantime, take care! :)

Hey, Explorers!

I know it’s been three months since my last updates. I have been doing well, and I hope you have been well. Year-end and early of the year are usually busy or slow for me. I think it was the earlier one for me.

In December, two groups visited Raja Ampat, which was exciting. Although it wasn’t the first group that trusted me to arrange their holiday last year, it was the first two groups I led after such a long break since the pandemic. To be honest, I was nervous.

“Will everything go well?”
“Did I miss something?”
“Will they enjoy the trip?”

.. and much more.

I checked and rechecked, making sure nothing was missed. I must admit that it wasn’t going well 100% as I expected it to be. But I could still tell we all left with good memories of the trip. :)

eazycation on top of Wayag

Wayag, Raja Ampat Islands

I spent a amount of time visiting my family in Singapore for the Chinese New Year in January and half of February. Even though we didn’t attach to the tradition so much anymore, we still take this opportunity to gather together – it is like a reminder for me to take a break and set aside time for family. It was also great meeting friends with whom I had not been catching up  since the pandemic.

A few days after returning from Singapore, I received a familiarisation trip invitation from the Jakarta Tourism Board to reintroduce the Thousand Islands – a group of islands across from Jakarta. The name “Thousand Islands” in Jakarta may sound familiar because our group was there in 2014. It has been almost nine years since we explored that side of Jakarta and Bogor’s highland.

During the familiarisation trip, we stayed on Pramuka Island, the same island we stayed on with the group last time. It has changed so much since then. It is a good change, though. The facilities on Pramuka Island have improved much.

Besides the turtle sanctuary, there is a seahorse hatchery centre, too. It is interesting to see the tiny seahorse babies. Another fun part of staying on Pramuka Island is that we can rent a kayak and kayaking on the other side of the island, where the water is calm along the sandy beach. Island hopping and snorkelling are definitely two things to do that shall not be missed!

Sunrise Beach, Pramuka Islands, Indonesia

Baby Seahorse a.k.a fry

Sea turtles hatchling

Sea turtles hatchling

GROUP TRIPS & PRIVATE TRIPS

Now, talking about the upcoming trips, I will only be organising a few longer trips this year which are:

– Derawan Islands (Kalimantan)
– Togean Islands (Sulawesi)
– Mt. Rinjani (Lombok)
– Banda Aceh & Sabang (Aceh)
– Fakfak (West Papua)

If you follow my newsletter, those places may sound familiar to you because I shared about them before. :) As usual, I will keep the group small to not more than 12 pax – unless I stated otherwise to keep the prices more reasonable.

In between those, I will try to organize smaller trips for short getaways. If you do have any places in mind around Indonesia that you would like to visit however it isn’t on the list, please feel free to let me know. Also, it is possible to request a private trip, too!

To get the first trip updates, please join our Facebook Group here.

Eazycation Facebook Group

 

 

A Little Update About Eazycation

This year, I am trying to grow the team to serve more people who wish to have a holiday in Indonesia. To be honest, it has been a roller coaster journey for me in running this business. Whenever I think I got it stabilized already, an unexpected thing hits me hard – the latest one that hit everyone, too, was the pandemic. I can’t be thankful enough for those who supported me during those hard times.

But, well, through this first update from me in 2023, I would like to inform everyone that Eazycation is officially back to business!

Hope to see you guys soon! In the meantime, take care and stay healthy! :)

Hey, Explorers!

Apologize for not sending any updates last month. It’s been a little bit haywire with the unexpected plan to visit Fakfak, the oldest regency in the West Papua province. The local tourism board invited two friends and me to share our knowledge and experiences in Digital Tourism with the locals. The purpose is to give some insights into how we can utilize social media to boost the exposure of local tourism, in this case, Fakfak itself. It was an unusual task for me to do; however, it was an exciting one. Yeah, trying to be more useful to society at some point. Haha…

Fakfak is probably the greenest destination I have ever been to in Indonesia. It took 45 minutes to get there by flight from Sorong – the gate to Raja Ampat. Everywhere I go, I can see old trees along the road. It was still so natural. I must say that they are too humble all these times with the tourism potential that the destination has.

We did squeeze some time out to explore some places. We went birdwatching, diving, and also to a waterfall. Different types of Bird of Paradise reside in the Fakfak Nature Reserve Park. The diving spots were not far from the harbor but the water visibility was so good. And I was surprised to know that there are sites where we can see a few big marine animals. So exciting!

We intended to visit the nugmet plantation, which is a big commodity in the regency. Unfortunately, the harvest season was just over. Nothing to see anymore. So, we just went to one of the local’s houses that still has a nugmet tree with its fruits and learned how they usually do the harvest and process it after that.

Fakfak looks promising. I hope we can visit there together one day.

Another thing that I would like to share is I will be heading to Aceh next week! The API Awards Night (Indonesia Tourism Brand Award) will be held in Banda Aceh. I will be present at the event as one of the ambassadors. Aceh will be another totally different type of destination to visit in Indonesia. More photos and stories to come!

Orh! I almost forgot. Thanks to Explorers who turned up in our previous Meet & Greet online session. I was worried that I wouldn’t see anyone signing in at all! Haha… It was great to see the familiar faces.

So, I think that’s all I have for you for now! Until the next one!
Stay safe and healthy wherever you are.

Hey, Explorers!

So, I finally decided to do the “Virtual Explorers Meet & Greet” this coming Friday, September 30th. This virtual meet and greet will happen on Google Meet. Free admission.

During the session, we will share a few unusual destinations like Korowai and Arfak in Papua and the Colossal Dance cultural festival in Nias. Also, probably Derawan, and Raja Ampat, if time permits. The purpose is to give a peek at what we could expect from visiting those destinations.

It will be awesome to see you guys (and your friends or families) signing in! I can’t wait!

“Virtual Explorers Meet & Greet”
September 30th, 2022
19.30 WIB (Jakarta Time) /
20.30 SGT (Singapore Time)

Here is the link to the Google Meet
https://bit.ly/VEMG300922

eazycation meet and greet

And also, we now have the Indonesia Explorers Telegram Group! That’s where I will share information about destinations, latest updates and also upcoming trips. On top of that, a community. :) Click or scan the QR Code below to get into the group.

Lastly, our trip to Raja Ampat is confirmed! Rooms are limited, hence, if you would like to join, you still have the chance!

That’s all I have for you this time.
Hope to see you virtually this coming Friday!

Hey, Explorers!

Two annual events related to travel that lasted for four days were just over last weekend here in Jakarta. One is the Deep and Extreme Indonesia 2022 focused on underwater and marine tourism, and the other one is Indonesia Outdoor Festival focused on outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking, and many more.

This is the first time the event is held offline since the pandemic. Although I am sure that it was going to be a busy event, the crowd was way beyond my expectation. People started buying outdoor gear again and it simply showed one thing: the enthusiasm to travel is back. It is undeniable that traveling or taking a break from what we usually do has great benefits for ourselves – although it may dry up our pockets as well to some extent. Oops!

indofest2022DE2022

Anyway, let me also share our upcoming trips for this year. It is already September, so, not many months left if you decide to visit Indonesia this year!

• • •

22-27 October 2022
[6D5N] Mt. Bromo, Mt. Ijen, Baluran, Menjangan Island & Padang Bai
S$950 | Min. 6 pax
S$855 | Min. 8 pax
Sign up the latest by 8 October 2022

22-27 December 2022
[6D5N] Raja Ampat (Wayag & Batanta)
S$1475 | Min. 6 pax
S$1300 | Min. 8 pax
Sign up the latest by 20 October 2022

• • •

The final cost will be determined by the final number of participants. Have a great week ahead!

Hi, Explorers!

A few weeks ago, I happened to go trekking at one place called Kawah Ratu (direct translation: Queen Crater). It is located in Bogor – about 2.5 hours from Jakarta; it is still within the Halimun Salak National Park. The highlight of the place is the beautiful turquoise color river (or stream?) found near the crater itself. Although we still can see some boiling water puddle not far from there, however, surprisingly the flowing water is so cold! We can also dip inside the water to refresh ourselves after almost three hours of trek. The trail is not that hard, there are parts that have a similar terrain as Mt. Papandayan. Btw, I am planning for Mt. Papandayan Hiking this coming September!

eazycation-kawah ratu

Well, after such a long break from trekking or hiking, the “not that hard” trail still made almost my whole body aching the next morning (sweat!). Probably, I should arrange to go there one day for a short weekend getaway together. What do you think? :)

Anyway, there are some updates on the scheduled trips! You can always check it on our group calendar here or click on the photo below.

There are a few more new destinations added to the list. I also will organize one trip that once was so popular back then during our first few years starting the Indonesia Explorer Meetup Group, which is 6D5N Mt. Bromo, Mt. Ijen, Baluran National Park, and Menjangan Island! Reminiscing the good old times. :)

It will run on a similar itinerary with a few tweaks on the itinerary which I hope will even deliver a better travel experience together – it will start from Surabaya and end in Bali. I was hoping to share the final information together with this newsletter, however, I am still working on some pending details. I will only be able to release it likely by next week on Indonesia Explorer (Eazycation) Facebook Group!

That’s all I have for you for now. See you around soon!

Hi, Explorers!

While I can’t wait to see you around here in Indonesia soon, I am happy to see many of you have also been traveling around the globe or even just to somewhere not far from where you are living (thanks to social media in this case so that we can keep in touch virtually). As Indonesia’s border has opened and all restrictions are loosening up – almost getting back to how they used to be, and as I also have received some requests coming into my inbox, I think maybe…

… this is it!

It is time to welcome you, my friends, back to Indonesia! :)

This year, I plan for a few longer trips that you can consider joining if you are ready. Allow me to share more details as below.

 

[6D5N] Derawan Islands

3-8 September 2022

This time, our Derawan Islands trip will cover more places than the ones we had previously. The additional will be visiting the Dayak Village, Orangutan sighting, and also going to Teluk Sulaiman where we can see many sea turtles of any sizes in the wild. Expect to have a full dose of vitamin-sea when joining this trip!

 

 

 

 

[8D7N] Timor Overland 

18-25 October 2022

The highlight of this trip is that we will start from Kupang, the capital city of East Nusa Tenggara Province, and cross the border to Timor Leste. We will explore places in both areas as we go. Not only that, but we will also take a boat across to Atauro Island from Dili, the capital of Timor Leste.

Also, as this is during the Blue Whale migration season, although it is not guaranteed, we might get to see them in Atauro water followed by the smaller size cetaceans such as Spotted, Spinner, Bottle-nosed, and Rough-toothed Dolphins, Pilot, and Melon-headed Whale. Expect to enjoy nature, dive into the local culture, and certainly get refreshed!

 

[6D5N] Raja Ampat (Wayag & Batanta)

28 December to 2 January 2023

A place on the most eastern island of Indonesia, Papua, Raja Ampat has always been on my recommended place-to-go list for those who ask for my opinion. The beauty of nature speaks for itself, and the friendliness of Papuan always leaves memories and longing to come back again one day. Although the place is not really developed yet, we will be staying in a decent resort that can let us have a comfortable place to rest each day after the excursion.

The itinerary for the Raja Ampat trip this time will be a little bit different compared to the one I had organized before. This time we will also go to Batanta for a Dugong sighting. This seagrasses feeding mammal has made an appearance around the area for the past years although this wildlife sighting is not guaranteed. In Batanta, we will also do a little trekking to the Batanta Waterfall.

• • •

That’s all for the “bigger” trips I have in plan for this year. In between those, I might plan shorter trips just for a quick getaway. Remember to join our Facebook Group so you will always get the latest updates from me.

See you around soon!

Hi, Explorers!

This is my 1st bulletin after the last one that was written in June 2020.
YES. TWO YEARS AGO.
(inhale. phew.)

When the pandemic started, I believe no one ever thought that it would happen in their whole life ever. If you read the article “The Story of Double Twenty” that I wrote on my personal blog, Peek Holidays, I was just back from visiting my family over Chinese New Year in Singapore when gradually everything started shutting down. For the sake of many people, doing activities and meeting people has become restricted, or maybe I should say, prohibited. For a long time, people avoided meeting eye to eye, distancing apart, and suddenly, the surroundings became so cold.

Like for everyone else who stays far from their family or the people they love, the news of border closings was shocking. The thought of not being able to see my family and my friends for an uncertain period of time was dreadful. Those friends include all of you, Indonesia Explorer fellas, my travelmates. :)

Staying positive during that time was not easy. There were times when negative thoughts steered my head, like driving on a freeway. Thanks partly to the facilities that we have nowadays, we can still stay connected despite the distance and restrictions.

At this point, as I am writing this, if I think it over, a tiny part of me still can’t believe that whatever happened in the past two years was actually real. It was like a nightmare, and I am glad that we are all awake now.

• • •

Almost nine months later, since everything shut down, I finally landed my foot on the floor of the aircraft again. I must say that the first time I stepped out of my so-called safe house and dropped myself off at the dangerous zone, a.k.a. airport, for my 12-day trip exploring East Nusa Tenggara with the local tourism board was quite interesting.

There were 13 of us in the group then. I recall the tension, the awareness of who was sitting next to us at the airpot, who we were talking to. How we couldn’t give a hug to one another. No flight meals were served on board, and we all ended up starving as we arrived at the destination airport in the early morning.

Masks and hand sanitizers have become must-have items in our bags. That’s not all. We had to get our finger on that oxymeter device that our group coordinator prepared every morning, and he once got panicked because the number shown on the device when I placed my finger was not within the normal range. He was ready to take me to the local hospital – an even scarier place during that time. Fortunately, it turned out that the inaccuracy was due to the device’s fault.

• • •

Two years later, the situation is already much better compared to then. It is almost back to normal like it used to be (I think!). And I finally made my first overseas trip to meet my family and spend quality time with them for a few months.

Last month, the Indonesian government finally opened the Indonesian border to international visitors. I must say that, thanks to the MotoGP event in Lombok last month, that has indirectly become the trial period for welcoming international visitors. At present, the entry point for tourism purposes is only available via Bali and is limited to certain countries. At the very least, it indicates that we will soon be able to fly in and out freely again.

Regardless of the never-ending bad news that appears whenever it pleases, we should probably ask ourselves if we are ready to leave our safe haven and live our lives as we used to be. To do what we love, chase our dreams, and most importantly, never give them up.

Time slipped away. Two years have passed. Although we might have lost many opportunities or missed the targets we have set for ourselves in the last two years, perhaps it is just like the popular quote says, “To rest is to prepare for a longer journey ahead.”

And I hope this lengthy newsletter doesn’t turn you away.

Until we meet again soon. Stay healthy!

[Update as of April 06, 2022] – Entry port for international visitors are already extended to many other airports in Indonesia as shown below.

VOA Indonesia Info